Gardening for Beginners: The Ultimate Resource List

Gardening for beginners, a resource guide to help you learn how to start a garden or add to your homestead.

This resource guide will be helpful even if you already have some gardening experience, but will be particularly useful if you’re looking for gardening help for beginners.

Gardening for Beginners

A Family Gardening Heritage

My husband and I come from a long line of gardeners.

My grandparents on both sides were either farmers or had a large garden. Dad was a farmer’s son and was passionate about gardening (and building his own greenhouses). And my mom has a B.S. degree in horticulture.

My husband’s dad also grew up on a farm and always tried to have a vegetable garden even into his senior years.

Although there have been a couple of years where we weren’t able to garden due to where we lived, my husband and I have tried to at least have a small garden for each of the twenty-plus years of our marriage.

There’s something therapeutic about working outdoors, digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and then harvesting baskets full of beautiful produce.

Growing your own food is so satisfying.

gardening for beginners

Having access to fresh herbs is another huge benefit from having a home garden. I love culinary herbs like rosemary and basil, but herbs can have so many medicinal uses as well.

RELATED: How to Make Your Own Comfrey Salve

Gardening for Beginners

I’ve always been a fan of gardening and homesteading. But now it’s even more important than ever to learn these skills.

Growing your own food allows you to save money on your grocery bill and eat healthier. It also makes you more self-sufficient.

That’s why learning how to garden and grow your own food is crucial right now. Even if you don’t have space for a traditional garden, grow things in containers on a back porch or balcony!

RELATED: Herb Gardening for Beginners

Even though it may seem complicated when you’re first getting started, keep going! It’s so worth it!

gardening for beginners

Gardening Tips for Beginners

If you’ve ever wondered how to start a garden, these gardening tips for beginners will help you get started.

Here are the simple steps to starting your own garden:

1. Create a Garden Plan

The first step is to come up with a garden plan. Think through what you and your family like to eat and start from there.

Are there foods you eat regularly that you could grow in your home garden? Make a list of all the things you’d like to grow in your garden.

You’ll also want to know your gardening zone. You can find gardening zone charts online. This will tell you which plants (and which varieties) will grow best where you live.

2. Plan Your Garden Space

Next, decide where your garden will be located. Will you have a traditional garden planted directly in the ground, or will you use raised beds?

Would a container garden be better suited to your available space?

3. Buy Seeds and Plants

After you’ve decided on the perfect place to plant your garden, it’s time to buy seeds and plants.

This is the fun part!

Here are some of the best places to buy seeds.

If you’re starting seeds indoors, follow the guidelines on the seed packets. You’ll also need a grow light or a sunny window.

4. Prepare Your Garden Space

Once you’ve acquired your seeds, plants, and any garden tools you may need, it’s time to prepare the garden space.

If you’ve decided on a traditional garden planted right in the ground, you may want to till up the dirt (or you can use one of the various no-till methods).

If you’re creating a raised bed or container garden, get your garden space ready by building your beds/containers and adding soil.

5. Plant The Garden

After all this preparation, it’s finally time to plant!

You’ll want to make note of your last frost date before you put your plants outside in the garden.

If you’ve started seeds indoors, they’ll need to be hardened off before planting them.

If you purchased plants, you’ll just need to plant them in your garden. Be sure to water them as directed on the seed packet/container.

6. Nurture Your Plants and Get Ready for Harvest!

The final step to starting your own garden is to nurture your plants. Keep them watered and fertilized, manually remove pests (or use a natural pest control method), and keep the weeds at bay.

The best is yet to come with the harvest season!

For more detailed instructions on starting your own garden I highly recommend these gardening books.

Find More Gardening Ideas Here

Gardening for Beginners Resource List

I’ve tried to select some of the very best resources that would be most helpful to new and intermediate gardeners.

Although not all of the resources are free, I’ve picked ones that I feel confident would be very useful to help you get started with your very own garden!

Affiliate links included below. Read my disclosure here.

1. The 100 Square Foot Garden

The 100 Square Foot Garden is a totally free downloadable PDF guide that provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to start an organic garden.

Although it doesn’t have a lot of photos and wouldn’t be considered a truly comprehensive guide, this free guide is a great place to start if you’re just getting into gardening and want to grow vegetables using organic standards.

It even has a fun section on kids’ gardens!

2. Top 10 Vegetables to Plant that Will Really Feed You

Top 10 Vegetables to Plant that Will Really Feed You is a great starter course for picking vegetables that are ideal for feeding a family.

The course features a video and manual sharing the course creators’ personal experiences and recommendations for vegetable gardening.

They also include tons of resources for further learning, including links to free articles from Wild Abundance, favorite books, and suggestions for sourcing high-quality, organic, open-pollinated seeds that have been bred for the home gardener.

This is an excellent course that you can check out here.

3. All New Square Foot Gardening

One of the names most synonymous with modern gardening is Mel Bartholomew.

Mel was an incredible gardener who was best known for his revolutionary concept of “square foot gardening.”

Mel’s system is an ideal approach to gardening for beginners. This system has helped millions of home gardeners grow more fresh produce in less space and with less work.

Several editions of Mel’s groundbreaking book have been published, with All New Square Foot Gardening (3rd Edition) being the most recent.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone seeking to start gardening particularly if you have limited space.

4. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs

Over the years, I’ve really come to appreciate the power of herbs to help with common family health conditions.

I also love growing herbs in my own backyard, and creating things like my own homemade comfrey salve.

There are some really good natural healing remedies, but sometimes it can be difficult to find just the right one, and buying premade herbal products can be much more expensive (and less fun!) than creating your own.

That’s why I was so excited to come across Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar.

Rosemary shares how to grow and make herbal remedies from herbs you harvest in your own backyard.

This is truly an excellent guide for creating your own “healing garden” and is useful for both beginners and more experienced gardeners.

5. Over 20 Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas

One of the important things to consider when planning your garden is how to lay out the structure of your garden.

One really helpful free gardening resource is Over 20 Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas: Free Layouts for Raised Beds, Square-Foot Gardens & More from The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

These clever vegetable garden layout ideas cover a whole range of options, from raised beds to kitchen gardens to flower gardens and more!

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gardening for beginners

6. The Grow Network Academy

Marjory Wildcraft, founder of The Grow Network, has been teaching others about restoring heirloom genetics in gardens and livestock, and returning to natural medicine, for many years.

She has hosted several summits on homesteading, growing your own food, and natural medicine, and is creator of the “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series.

The Grow Network has a very impressive Grow Network Academy with online resources about saving heirloom seeds, backyard chickens, becoming an “instant master gardener,” and much more!

The way you get access to the Grow Network Academy is by joining The Grow Network’s Honors Lab. For only $10.00 a month (or $100.00 annually), you get complete access to all of the online courses in the Grow Network Academy.

It would be well worth $10.00 to get access to just one of these courses, but for a limited time a membership provides complete access to all courses.

Once you complete one of the step-by-step eCourses, you get a printable course completion certificate, with new certifications added every quarter!

Check out The Grow Network Academy here.

7. Composting for Beginners Class

If you’re new to gardening, you may have heard of composting but not be familiar with what it actually is.

Composted material is one of the most valuable nutrient sources for a healthy garden, and this free Composting for Beginners Class is a perfect introduction!

The class host is an experienced organic gardener who does a great job describing composting and helping new gardeners get their compost pile up and running.

8. Growing Your Greens YouTube channel

The Growing Your Greens YouTube channel is one of the best gardening channels currently available.

The channel host John has been producing videos since 2009 and covers a very wide range of gardening tips and techniques.

John is extremely knowledgeable about gardening and his videos are always full of helpful information.

9. Lost Book of Remedies

For most of my adult life I’ve been interested in using natural remedies such as herbs to help with common ailments.

And once I became a mom, I was thankful to learn about home remedies to help my kids with things like stomach aches, viruses, and skin conditions.

My husband (who also is interested in herbal healing) and I obtained a review copy of Dr. Nicole Apelian’s Lost Book of Remedies.  This book is really good!

Dr. Nicole suffered from chronic health conditions and describes how she used herbs to overcome these challenges.

Her book goes into extensive detail about all aspects of herbal healing, including a medicinal herbal reference guide, how to identify and harvest herbs (including those you grow and those in the wild), and how to make your own home remedies from herbs.

Although Lost Book of Remedies does not go into detail about how to grow herbs, it discusses plants that are easy to grow and would be a great companion to Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar guide I mentioned previously (#4 above).

the lost book of remedies

Lost Book of Remedies is definitely a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their knowledge in identifying and using plants for healing purposes.

10. Rodale My First Garden

The Rodale Institute is one of the oldest organic gardening organizations in America. My husband and I still have one of their original gardening books published 50 years ago.

The Institute has a free My First Garden program aimed at preschoolers and kindergarten-aged children, although it could also be used with elementary-aged kids.

This program covers important gardening concepts like where food comes from and how seeds grow. You can download the complete curriculum with lessons, activities and materials needed.

The My First Garden program would be ideal for home schools or classroom education to teach kids about gardening and the importance of organic principles in food production.

11. Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners

While there are some good free beginner gardening resources available, it’s usually true that you get what you pay for. In this case of this book, you don’t have to pay a lot!

Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Start and Sustain a Thriving Garden by Tammy Wylie is a fantastic resource for learning all about raised beds.

My husband built our first raised bed nearly 20 years ago, and we have had raised beds in each house we’ve lived in since that time.

Tammy gives practical and understandable advice for beginners to get going on constructing and using raised beds

I can definitely see why Raised Bed Gardening for Beginners is one of the top-selling gardening resources available!

12. Back to Eden

In the film Back to Eden, gardener Paul Gautschi lays out his Christian-based principles of organic gardening in a way that can be described as “growing superior food with less cost and work.”

Paul has a unique gardening philosophy where he seeks to work with the land in natural ways that avoid synthetic chemicals and gets your garden to work for you (rather than the other way around).

There is also a book Growing Food God’s Way that goes into more detail about Paul’s approach to gardening.

13. Garden Tutor Free How to Garden Course

If you’re looking for a basic free gardening course designed for beginners, the Garden Tutor How to Garden Course could be right for you!

With eight modules covering all the important aspects of beginning a garden, this free course will be helpful to just about anyone.

Although the focus of the course seems to be more on ornamental plants like bushes and flowers, the Garden Tutor How to Garden Course could still be helpful to those more interested in vegetable gardening.

14. Grow, Cook Eat

Grow, Cook, Eat is a fairly new gardening video series on Amazon Prime.

This helpful series describes how to grow common vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots.

The Grow, Cook, Eat gardening videos are free with an Amazon Prime membership.

15. The Gardening Channel with James Prigioni

The Gardening Channel with James Prigioni is another excellent YouTube channel with loads of helpful gardening information.

James has been sharing gardening know-how videos since 2012 and focuses on doing organic gardening in a way that works with nature without pesticides and artificial chemicals.

Some of James’s gardening techniques seem similar to Paul Gautschi’s as discussed above under Back to Eden.

gardening for beginners greenhouse

16. Field Guide to Urban Gardening

Garden expert Kevin Espiritu lays out practical steps for gardening in cities in his Field Guide to Urban Gardening.

Kevin covers many different clever ways to maximize limited spaces to grow your own vegetables.

From raised beds to indoor edibles to hydroponics, the Field Guide to Urban Gardening is an amazing gardening resource for beginners!

17. Free Organic Gardening Course

The Smiling Gardener Free Organic Gardening Course by Phil Nauta covers the basics of organic gardening through written content and videos.

There is also a paid course that teaches more advanced organic gardening skills, but the free course will at least help lay a good foundation for understanding organic gardening basics.

Phil provides some really helpful information in the 19 different sections of his free course. It’s definitely one of the better free organic gardening courses available.

18. MIGardener Channel

Another outstanding YouTube gardening channel is MIGardener.

Publishing gardening videos since 2011, the MIGardener channel has excellent information on organic gardening.

There are so many practical and inspiring videos on the MIGardener channel!

19. Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

A more comprehensive online guide for beginning vegetable gardening is Vegetable Gardening for Beginners from Backyard Boss.

This is a very helpful free beginning gardening resource that covers the most important points when planning and starting a vegetable garden.

The Vegetable Gardening for Beginners guide is one of the best free guides available for beginning gardeners.

20. Get Growing with GrowVeg Channel

One more YouTube gardening channel that I recommend is the Get Growing with GrowVeg channel.

This channel has been producing organic gardening videos since 2009 and provides really good guidance for anyone getting started with gardening.

21. Gardener’s Supply Company How-To Articles

You can find an impressive list of how-to articles on the Gardener’s Supply Company website.

Covering a huge array of topics from small-space vegetable gardening to seed starting, weed control, and much more, this collection of gardening articles is top notch!

One article title that caught my eye was Our Front-Yard Vegetable Garden. This could be really useful for those who want to maximize their limited yard space.

22. Allotment Garden Vegetable Guides

The Allotment Garden Vegetable Growing Guides provide a very helpful set of articles about growing common (and a few not-so-common) vegetables.

Looking through their list of vegetable growing guides really makes me want to go out there and get gardening!

23. David Domoney Guides

British horticulturalist David Domoney has a number of useful online gardening guides.

David’s practical guides cover not only growing vegetables but also flowers, fencing, compost and more.

You can view David’s excellent gardening guides here.

gardening for beginners strawberries

24. What Herbs Should You Grow for Your Medicinal Herb Garden

In addition to growing vegetables in your garden, many of us also grow herbs to use for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Heidi with Rain Country has an excellent video called What Herbs Should You Grow for Your Medicinal Herb Garden.

Heidi provides some excellent information on different herbs that you can grow in your area based on health conditions and benefits you may be looking for.

25. Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Another free and helpful resource from The Old Farmer’s Almanac is Vegetable Gardening for Beginners.

This guide goes through the important steps of choosing where to grow and what to grow in your vegetable garden.

This is not a comprehensive resource but would be good when you are just starting out on your gardening journey.

26. Garden Tower Project Learning Center

Another outstanding free gardening resource for beginners is the Garden Tower Project Learning Center.

The Garden Tower Project is a small company focused on food security and sustainability. They offer many unique gardening tools and accessories, many of which are aimed at urban gardening in small spaces.

Their 50-Plant Garden Tower 2 is truly an ingenious way to grow a lot in a small space!

27. Four Seasons Nursery

I haven’t listed any other plant sources here, but felt compelled to include Four Seasons Nursery.

My husband has ordered from Four Seasons Nursery several times and has been very impressed with their products. Their prices on live plants are probably the best available.

Their shipping time can be a little slow, so you’ll want to place your order quite a bit before you hope to receive your plants.

The plants we have received from Four Seasons Nursery have been in good shape and have grown very well. We’re really looking forward this year to enjoying the strawberries produced by the plants we bought last year from Four Seasons. All of the plants are looking very healthy!

Final Thoughts on Gardening for Beginners Resources

If you’re just getting started, this list of beginning gardener resources may seem a little overwhelming.  If so, don’t worry!  Just pick a few of these and go through them one by one.

If your budget is really tight, you could just focus on the free resources. If you’re ready to take the next step into beginning gardening, you might want to invest in books or courses.

Whatever you do, be sure to take action. Don’t worry if your results aren’t all you hope for in the first year or two.

As with any new skill, it takes time to learn the basics of gardening. Keep learning and trying and you’ll have a green thumb before you know it!

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Gardening for Beginners

14 Comments

  1. This is an incredible resource, thank you for compiling it all in one neat place! I’m saving it for later reference. Appreciate this.

  2. This truly is a remarkable list of resources! I subscribed to the YouTube channels and saved a lot of the links! I would like to learn more about raised bed vegetable gardening since I live in Texas and the soul here is incredibly difficult to work with. I’m looking forward to learning and planning for next spring!

    1. Thank you, Elena! So glad it was helpful! I grew up in Texas, so I know what you mean about the challenges.

  3. What a wonderful list of resources! There are loads of exciting things to try, I’ll be checking out the organic garden resources for sure!

  4. WOW!!! Now this post is an awesome resource. I grew up in a gardening family with grandparents as farmers. I have not always lived up to the heritage or shared it with the new generations. I believe I could do this with your awesome post
    thanks for sharing come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

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